The internal migration of foreigners in Spain

Joaquin Recano-Valverde, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Marta Roig, United Nations

Spain has become a receiving country in the last twenty years. The number of foreigners increased from 500,000 in 1996 and up to over 3.5 million in January 2005. At this early stage of the process, the internal dynamics of the phenomenon have been scarcely studied. Questions related to the settlement patterns of foreigners and their propensity to move, for instance, are largely unknown. The purpose of this paper is to describe the internal migration of the foreign population in Spain since the mid-1990s. In particular, we intend to answer three questions: Are the internal migration patters of foreigners similar to those of natives? Do these migration patters differ by origin? Is internal migration contributing to higher concentration or dispersion of the foreign population? The analysis is based on data from the Spanish Population Register, the Residential Variation Statistics and the Spanish Census of 2001 which provides information on individuals changing place of residence by basic demographic and other socioeconomic characteristics (citizenship, age, sex, duration of residence, years of education, family structure and others). Following a descriptive analysis of migration patterns of foreigners and non-foreigners we have done multivariate analysis using logistic regression to explore some of the individual characteristics that may influence differences in mobility among groups. Our findings suggest that, as observed in countries with a longer immigration tradition, the internal migration propensities and patterns of immigrants and natives differ significantly. Due to their demographic and social characteristics, immigrants tend to be more mobile than natives. Natives and immigrants of different origins also differ in their choice of destinations; these differences persist even after demographic characteristics are accounted for. Immigrants appear to be more influenced by social networks and seem thus less responsive than natives to regional economic factors and to the location of other amenities.

  See paper

Presented in Session 33: Changes in the Mediterranean model of immigration